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MARKET PREVIEW: Techs look past 5,000

The Nasdaq should see blue sky on the other side of 5,000 Friday, as a solid batch of IPOs makes up for disappointment over a lost telecom deal. Asian and European markets moved up, and the Dow is set to open slightly lower.


Now that Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) has said the "major telecommunications company with whom it had been in discussions" has pulled out of talks because of demands from Qwest's partner U S West Inc. (NYSE: USW), the stocks might slouch back to their earlier prices.

On the IPO front, Selectica (Nasdaq: SLTC), which licenses configuration software to large firms for selling complex products online, priced shares at $30 each. Canadian broadband service provider Group Telecom (Nasdaq: GTTLB) priced at $14, online grocer Homegrocer (Nasdaq: HOMG) priced at $12 and data management provider OTG Software (Nasdaq: OTGS) priced at $19.

Microsoft Corp's (Nasdaq: MSFT) said it will begin selling its own powerful "X-Box" home video game machine sometime in 2001. The move might not get that much attention from investors concerned with the software giant's other goings-on, but it comes at a bad time for Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), which said some its new PlayStation2 video game consoles have malfunctioned, triggering a dip in its share price.

There are no major earnings reports or economic data due out Friday.

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: CMGI, Network Appliance, Niku and Qwest.

Internet and telecom stocks led another rabid rally in the technology sector Thursday, pushing the Nasdaq composite up and over the 5,000-point mark. For the day it gained 150 points, its fifth-largest, single-day gain in history. The Dow Jones industrial average scooted up 154 points to close at 10,010.73.

At the Bell

The Dow Jones industrial average may open about 9 points lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was down 1.3 points to 1421 at 7:41 a.m. EST in 24-hour electronic trading.

The Inter@ctive Week @Net Index was up 23 to 680.22.


Trading in Asia was on an upswing. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.45 percent to 19,750, Singapore's Strait Times index gained 0.67 percent to 2,096 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.10 percent to 17,831.


European markets were also moving ahead. London's FTSE 100 rose 1.04 percent to 6,600. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 1.19 percent to 6,499 and the Xetra DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.38 percent to 7,979 at 7:11 a.m. EST.

Reuters contributed to this report.